Hailing from Southern Africa, Vulvodynia is a force to be reckoned with in the Death Metal scene and has become one of the most influential names in the Slam community. Touring the world and having some of the biggest names in the metal scene featuring on their albums such as Travis Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder), Luke Griffin (Acrania), Jason Evans (Ingested), and Alex Terrible (Slaughter To Prevail), just to name a few, shows that these guys are not playing around. They had a full schedule of touring in 2019, ticking off the USA, Australia, and one hell of a UK and EU tour. Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us dudes.
Tell us a bit more about Vulvodynia and how would you describe Brutal Slamming Death Metal?
Vulvodynia is a Brutal Slamming Death Metal band hailing from South Africa and we’ve been making music since 2014. So it has been 6 years now since we formed! Brutal Slamming Death Metal has always been an important factor in our sound however, we try not to stay pigeonholed to that genre. We’ve always taken inspiration from other genres of music and we try to combine all our influences when we write.
Merchandise seems to be something you guys take very seriously, what have you learned over the past few years about the merchandise industry and what tips would you give to upcoming bands that are looking to enter the merch game?
We have learned that to survive as a band we need to turn ourselves into a BRAND as well! As we’ve grown as a band our expenses have grown along with us. This is why it is crucial for us to have monthly merch runs and revenue streams to keep us afloat while we tour the world. For any bands that are new to the merch game, we suggest doing limited runs and to not be afraid to throw their logo onto anything and everything!
You guys are constantly hitting the road and I’m always amazed by the number of shows you’re playing in different countries. How are you guys finding it? Nothing seems to stop you either, even when a member can’t make it on tour, the band overcomes this hurdle. This shows the work ethic behind the machine that is Vulvodynia.
We absolutely love being on the road as much as possible! We never really expected to even get out of South Africa. So playing all these shows in all these crazy places is mind-blowing for all of us. We’re lucky enough to now have Lwandile in the band who fills in on guitar whenever I can’t make a tour due to work. This benefits the band loads as we don’t have to turn down any amazing tour offers we get!
Could you give us your top three reasons why bands should focus more on their merchandise?
Reason Number 1: As a band, you have 3 main avenues for making money. Gigs, music sales, and merchandise. If you don’t focus on merch you are taking away 33% of your potential profit. Merch can be your main income as a band so don’t underestimate it!
Reason Number 2: Merch is extremely necessary to push your image and extend the brand. The more fans who own your merch the more likely you are to sell more as they are reminded about your music whenever they wear the merchandise.
Reason Number 3: Fans who purchase merchandise become invested in your music for a lot longer than fans who don’t. Try to get every fan to purchase at least one item to keep them coming back when you drop new music.
How do you approach selling your merch? Do you set up merch tables at shows and how do you go about online sales?
We set up a merch table at every show. We prefer to run the merch ourselves whenever possible as we all enjoy hanging out and talking to the fans who support us. One of the best parts of touring is getting to meet our fans all over the world! We’ve also got our merch available online through tons of stores like Rising Merch in the UK and Indiemerch in the USA. And our label Lacerated Enemy Records in Europe and Crowdkill Apparel worldwide! Our approach is just to push the band as hard as we can via every channel and to work with great artists for designs!
Where do you see merch going in the next couple of years? Things have changed drastically in the last couple of years, and it would be interesting to hear your take on it since Vulvodynia pushes the boundaries when it comes to merchandise.
Bands and artists seem to be slapping their logos onto all kinds of crazy items as the years go on! We feel like in the future bands are going to be branding any item imaginable. We already have bed sets, shower curtains, car seat covers, and tons of obscure items branded with our logo for sale on the Crowdkill Apparel store. And we are on the lookout for the next ridiculous item we can slap our logo onto.
Where can the Pins & Knuckles community check out your music and merchandise?
I think at this point just giving “Vulvodynia Slam” a google can get you into the right place. But you can find our music on all streaming platforms!